Vendia 9mm planking from Finland and Collano Semparoc glue from Switzerland, plus a few coats of International Clear Primer, white paint, what a brilliant combination to build a boat. Here's the latest Viking Boats of Ullapool creation, an Iain Oughtred-designed Arctic Tern, the 17ft version, after being turned. and at the long process of fitting out begins.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Arctic Tern

Too busy to blog; here's a few shots of the Arctic Tern taking shape in the old cowshed at Leckmelm for the last month or so. I believe this is designer Iain Oughtred's favourite, and I can see why.

For the curious, the details are: larch keelson, laminated Vendia stems, oak keel, daggerboard, not c/b. The fit out has yet to be decided, whether to go for a traditional joggled framing or laminated frames, or even a combination of the two.

Collars and Jeckells will make the lug rig.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Faering Finished

That's it then. The third faering out of the workshop, and the first in Vendia. Nothing I can say now can add to what I said about the material in past blogs, and from now on all my boats will be built using the stuff (unless I get a commission for a solid wooden boat...!)

Thanks Iain for designing such a delightful boat and to Alec Jordan for turning out millimetre perfect planks.

The more traditional framing, by the way, comes from the Woodfish design, rather than the much simpler Elfyn. And you'll note the aft thwart has been moved forward so as to keep crew weight more central if sailing single handed. It is removable if more leg room is need for rowing.

Old photos, I'm afraid, some of them from way back when framing up.
Here goes:

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Framing begins

I will be fitting the framing from the Galloway Faering, rather than the plywood Elfyn, which is much simpler, and less authentic.

The thwarts will rest on the frames, without fastenings, to allow them to rock a little as you row. Easier too when you want to re varnish.

Next to fit will be the rangs, the fore and aft cant frames. Not sure quite how necessary this all is in a glued structure, but it looks nice!

A lot of extra work, mind you, but one of the best bits about making a boat is the shaping of the interior framing, and in the case of a Faering, band sawing and fashioning
and planing lots of lovely bits of oak is a joy...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Turn Time Soon

The underwater (canoe body, technically) is now painted in a semi-matt white, to set off the Vendia's grain, and provide a little more protection.

The waterline sweeps up a tad at bow and stern, which should show a flash of white at the cutwater.

The keel has been deepened to around 3 1/2in amidships, and will be planed off a touch before the keel band is fitted, after which she'll be flipped for the interior framing to start next week, I hope.

Among the things I might do differently next time are to specify that the scarphs are staggered, like a solid clinker faering, ie two in the garboards fore and aft, and one each (staggered) in the other two strakes. There's no strength issue in a laminate having the scarphs more or less aligned, but it would look more authentic, albeit at the cost of having to use longer Vendia boards. It might also be nice to employ Norwegian-type scarphs, with proud lips, but that might be just trying too hard.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Busy busy

No posts for a while and now three boats to build, which should keep Viking Boats of Ullapool going into next spring. The first off the blocks is an Oughtred Elfyn. This one will be my third, the last two in solid timber, this one in the lovely Vendia plank from Finland.

The decision to go for a laminate over solid was simple:any three strake boat that's not kept damp will tend to move, and most boats these days live their lives on trailers and in dry sheds, or outside in the East wind, or trailed down motorways or a combination of all of the above, which is not ideal.

Besides which, Vendia is, how shall I say, absolutely, totally wonderful to work with: don't think pl*wood, think more in terms of flawless pine, but sliced in veneers and reassembled, leaving the grain and figure as it would be in solid timber.

Having said that, due to an oversight, the planks were cut from quarter sawn Vendia, not what they call crown cut. That's a small shame, as the faering will look almost too good, without the grain and figure (and sometimes knots) that come with planks sawn through and through.

And let's not forget a plug for my favourite glue: Collano Semparoc 60. Fantastico!

The second of the boats, awaiting keel timber, is a 22ft authentic Viking boat, designed by Aidan Campbell for his Wirral-based reenactment society. This will be rather special, in that the stems have been carved from solid by my good friend and boat builder Mattis Voss, who spent five days with chainsaw and adze. Alec Jordan digitised Aidan's plans and provided full size templates which might make it easier to build, but probably not. It will be an interesting experiment in any case to see if it is possible to construct an authentic Viking boiat using modern methods. I suspect we will find that the Vikings knew better.

The third boat, also in Vendia and due for delivery next year, is a 17ft Arctic Tern, the second I will have built, the first one in solid timber again. This is a shrunken version of Iain's popular design, and at 17ft a little more manageable perhaps.

And there's a pair of spoon oars, based on a Pete Culler design...

Monday, 20 June 2016


She's been ready for a while, but delayed due to circumstance and sadness. But finally, today, the owner of the Tammie Norrie, called Bay of Plenty II, came to collect his boat and whisk her off to Skye where she will replace a family boat that came to the end of its days.

There's a poignancy in seeing a cherished boat live again in the shape of a new one, freshly made in the same old way.

She'll have to endure the scrutiny of her designer, Iain Oughtred, a neighbour of the owner's on the island, where all eyes will be on her. There was some controversy surrounding her build, traditionally in larch and oak, not the customary plywood and epoxy, a method Iain has perfected over many years. Let those who see her be the judge, but as the old saying goes: there are many ways to make a good boat.

Meanwhile, here are some photos before she left for Skye.